The former Malaysia prime minister urged Malays in the six states of Kelantan, Terengganu, Kedah, Penang, Selangor and Negeri Sembilan to “come out in numbers”.
KOTA BAHRU: Former Malaysian prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has urged the Malays to come out and vote in the upcoming state elections, saying that it was the only way they could ensure the country belonged to them.
“We see sometimes that the Malays don’t go out and vote. In Kelantan, they go out and vote but in the other states, there are Malays who don’t go out and vote because they are supposedly fed up with politics.
“But if we don’t go out and vote, it is like voting for parties who are not worthy of winning and capable of governing,” he said during a Perikatan Nasional (PN) mega rally in Kelantan’s capital that drew tens of thousands of people.
He urged Malays in the six states of Kelantan, Terengganu, Kedah, Penang, Selangor and Negeri Sembilan to “come out in numbers”.
“Vote for our victory so that the country will remain as ‘Tanah Melayu’ (land of the Malays).”
This was the first time that Dr Mahathir, clad in a green vest synonymous with the Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS), shared the stage with the top leadership of Perikatan Nasional.
“Only by voting can we save (the Malays). We are not violent people who like to kill. We want the law to be upheld. The law gives us the right to decide who will be the government of the country.
“And we will use the law. We do not want to snatch away anyone’s rights. The other races can live in the country and can do business and become rich but not to the point that they say the country belongs to them,” he said.
The 98-year-old has criticised PAS in the past, saying among other things that the party abused Islam to serve its political goals.
Dr Mahathir was Malaysia’s prime minister from July 1981 to Oct 2003 and again from May 2018 to Feb 2020.
In the 15th general election last year, Dr Mahathir failed to defend his Langkawi seat, losing his deposit after finishing fourth in a five-cornered fight.
It was his first electoral defeat in 53 years.
Since failing to defend his seat, he has authored a Malay Proclamation that purportedly aims to protect the interests of Malays.
The 12-point document is also intended at uniting the community to “restore the political power of Malays”.
Dr Mahathir has also warned about the potential erosion of Malay rights under the current government.
Earlier this month, Dr Mahathir said that a multiracial Malaysia will erode Malay rights and make them “poor”.
His campaign for PN comes on the heels of a recent meeting with its chairman Muhyiddin Yassin, believed to be the first since the so-called “Sheraton Move” in 2020 when a number of Members of Parliament (MPs) defected from the then-ruling Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition.
This triggered the collapse of the short-lived PH government led by Dr Mahathir, paving the way for Muhyiddin to take up the mantle as Malaysia’s next prime minister.
Dr Mahathir had previously called Muhyiddin a traitor for his role in the Sheraton Move.
Polling for the upcoming six state elections in Malaysia will take place on Aug 12, with nomination day on Jul 29.
The six states – Kelantan, Terengganu, Kedah, Penang, Selangor and Negeri Sembilan – did not hold their state elections concurrently with the 15th general election (GE15) on Nov 19 last year. They instead dissolved their legislative assemblies last month.
There are 45, 32, 36, 40, 56, and 36 seats in the respective state assemblies.
Kelantan, Terengganu, and Kedah are under the rule of PAS, which is a member of the Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition together with Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) and Parti Gerakan Malaysia (Gerakan).
PH will be working together with former rivals Barisan Nasional (BN) in the state elections, which many observers say will be a crucial test for the unity government.
After the last general election resulted in a hung parliament, BN became part of the unity government, together with Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) and Parti Warisan.
PH chairman Anwar Ibrahim was sworn in as prime minister on Nov 24 last year.
More than 9.7 million people will be eligible to cast their votes during the state elections.
Source: Channel News Asia